Communication makes all the difference in airline travel.
As the airline industry returns towards what we all hope will be SOME sort of standard, many travelers are nostalgic for what now feels like the good old days of even a mediocre flying experience. It seems that communication is a lost art.
Many issues are outside of airline employee control. Check-in activities for flights in many cases are handled by airport personnel. Aviation security is operated by TSA. Recent staffing shortages at airport eateries and shops are the responsibilities of non-airline workers. In the recent past (and continuing on some foreign carriers), mask mandates, along with vaccine mandates, made passengers feel safer. But they also made travelers cranky. Communication would help.
Once aboard flights, the significantly reduced inflight service doesn’t help. In coach, there may be limited food and alcohol, or nothing at all, and even premium class service often feels like what coach used to feel like.
Communicating with passengers is something airline staff can improve.
However, the one thing that airline employees can control is communication, and it can make a huge difference.
Take, for example, several flights I’ve taken to or from San Francisco in the past few months. In both cases, my flight was delayed.
- The first flight ended up arriving about 20 minutes late. The other flight made up time and arrived early. Yet the first flight was a better experience.
- In the first case, on a flight from Chicago to San Francisco, the gate agents and later the pilot regularly updated us on issues.
In the second case,
- There has been NO announcement. It is 5:50 p.m., so passengers know the plane is late. The airline agents just won’t tell travelers why.
- So, the gate agents didn’t say anything, and the sign above the departure jetway says the flight is departing on time.
- Finally, an automated announcement noted that boarding would begin shortly. Nothing was ever heard from the gate agent standing in front of us.
Gate agents who communicate can make a giant difference in every traveler’s stress levels.
I get it. Stuff happens.
Janice Hough is a California-based travel agent a travel blogger and a part-time comedy writer. A frequent flier herself, she’s been doing battle with airlines, hotels, and other travel companies for over three decades. Besides writing for Travelers United, Janice has a humor blog at Leftcoastsportsbabe.com (Warning, the political and sports humor therein does not represent the views of anyone but herself.)